Gus Van Sant
The film RESTLESS came to my attention a few months back when it was announced for DVD and Blu-ray. I was drawn to the film because of its quirky plot involving a girl with cancer and a funeral-crashing boy who is haunted by the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot. Itís both a love story and a story about coping with tragedy from the perspective of someone who has lost almost everything.
RESTLESS is helmed by director Gus Van Sant and while Iím familiar with some of his previous films, Iím not familiar enough to really say whether RESTLESS is better or worse than what his usual standard is. Obviously a film like Good Will Hunting sets the bar pretty high, but Iím not sure how the rest of his work holds up against that film or against RESTLESS.
To me, RESTLESS doesnít come across as a film thatís been put together by a veteran director. It comes across more like an amateur film from a director getting their first shot at a full-length feature film, although that may be part of the charm of the film. I feel like the actors were trying to convey an honesty and realism that these types of films arenít really known for and I definitely commend them for trying, but to me, there was just something a little bit off and their performances didn't quite hit the mark for me. This is the first feature film appearance for Henry Hopper (the son of Dennis Hopper) and itís possibly his inexperience that sets the pace for the other actors and actresses involved, but I guess all things considered, he does a decent job with his role.
Gus Van Santís Silent Version of RESTLESS: This is exactly what it sounds likeÖ a silent version of the film. Itís not just muted or anything, instead each scene from the movie was additionally recorded without the actors making any sounds. He then edited together to make a silent version of the film. Itís definitely a very interesting feature and puts a whole new perspective on the movie.
Enoch & Annabel: One Love: This feature explores Enoch and Annabelís relationship. Itís actually a really sweet idea behind their relationship and while I didnít love the movie, I do love what Jason Lew was trying to convey with them in his script. You have these two characters who are deeply affected by deathÖ Enoch has lost everyone he holds dear and he begins a relationship with someone who he knows heís going to lose since Annabel is suffering from a terminal illness. The cast and crew discuss what they think the relationship means and discuss the characters in-depth.
Enoch & Hiroshi: The Best of Friends: In the film, Enoch is haunted by the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot named Hiroshi. After a tragedy that really devastates Enoch, Hiroshi appears to him and I think that he is there to help Enoch reconnect with the world. Hiroshi almost has a sort of quirky guardian angel vibe to him as he looks after Enoch and tries to protect him.
Gus Van Sant: Independent Voice: The cast and the crew discuss why Gus Van Sant was the perfect choice to direct this movie. They also talk about his style and what it was like to work with him on set.
Being Restless: A lot of this feature is Jason Lew talking about his screenplay and how the idea for the film came about. The producers (Ron Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard) also discuss what impact the film had on them. This feature also goes into a lot of detail about the costumes and how much thought went into seemingly ordinary-ish clothing.
Coming to Life: This is Restless: The title for this feature gives a pretty big hint as far as what this is all about. Basically it goes through how RESTLESS got createdÖ between funding and casting and being filmed and brought to life. Pretty well a creative title for ďThe Making Of RESTLESSĒ.
RESTLESS is definitely worth checking out at least once and the creators of the Blu-ray went to lengths to make it worth buying, but it really just depends on how much you enjoyed the film itself. Some people will definitely like RESTLESS more than others and for those people, this is worth picking up, but for me, itís only worth a rental. I will add in though that after watching the special features for the film, I started to feel more of a connection to the characters and it gave me a better appreciation of the film.